About Me

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After thirty years of hiring, I finally bought my own 50ft boat in 2005, which was built in 2001 by Andicraft at Debdale Wharf. I mostly cruise single handed and have no problem with that, although it does take a little longer than with a crew. My mooring is on the Wey Navigation, so I have a choice of routes on the Wey or the Thames.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The Grand Canal Tour 2014. Day of the Boat Handling.

After a late start for a change. Dave and Kay Murray (they have the boat next to me on my home mooring) turned up for coffee and a chat about boating (what else do boaters talk about), before leaving for a look around the stalls.

I had a stroll around the stalls as well later and eventually got to nb Roger http://www.rwt.org.uk/historic-working-boat/the-roger/      where I met up with Fabian Hiscock, who is very much involved with the boat, as well as being a fellow member of the Narrow Boat Trust http://www.narrowboattrust.org.uk/  There is a very interesting video on the RWT page of the restoration of the Roger, which I found a little difficult to locate. It is on the RWT home page where the Rickmansworth Waterways Trust logo is, fairly well down the page, rather than an underlined link. Fabian gave me a tour through the hold to view the formidable task of replacing rotten timbers. I was also impressed with the portable dual burner diesel hob on the boat, which was designed for them by Kabola, I believe.

Brian and Margaret turned up for a chat in their boaters Sunday best – traditional boaters costume for high days and important events. Margaret looked particularly splendid in her new outfit made by Suzanne Wilson of the Byfleet Boat Club. I had forgotten about Sunday best, so I quickly changed before leaving the mooring to join the start of the Boat Handling Competition.
Margaret and Brian in their Sunday Best.
Progress was slow through the pool, as the London Waterbus Co. boats where very busy winding and coming and going. I got off to a poor start by shunting into the stern of a tug that I was following. I had not realised that it had stopped and the wheelhouse was well ahead of the stern, which protruded some way behind. The hull was so low that it was out of my view – well, that’s my excuse! Good job I was not yet in the competition.
Under starter's orders behind Fulbourne.

It was a different route to last year, when I also took part. This time, boats came out of the Paddington Basin and moved alongside Rembrandt Gardens, before reversing onto the Browning’s Island pontoon and shaking hands with the judge; not forgetting to take a line off the boat at the same time. Then we had to reverse around the island and up to Warwick Avenue Bridge and shake hands with the next judge, before moving forward and rotating through 360 deg in the pool and head out under the Horse Bridge. Reversing Stronghold, or any other boat, is not an easy manoeuvre, though better in deep water as it was here. I was reasonably pleased with my performance overall; the best part being the 360 deg rotation in the pool. Stronghold turns on a sixpence in deep water, aided I think, by the Axiom propeller. http://www.axiompropellers.com/

It was time for a well earned beer, so off I went with own mug in hand to the beer tent, which was CLOSED at 5pm, even to me with my wrist band on view. So that is that!!! I will never patronise them again this weekend. My next port of call was The Bridge House, where I had never been before and will never go again! The place was not only short staffed and obviously could not cope, but all the tables in the bar were covered in empty glasses and plates. I waited 10mins to be served, which I wasn’t, so decided to call it a day there and went to The Warwick Castle instead, which was also straining at the seams, but well staffed, so I was served within a minute or two.

At last, a good ending to the day.  

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